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Sri Lanka Army

Defenders of the Nation

Published on - 1/5/2005

UNPRECEDENTED NUMBERS OF AIRCRAFT WITH RELIEF ITEMS ARRIVE

Sixty five aircraft carrying immediate relief and medical supplies from the four corners of the earth have so far turned up at Bandarnaike International Airport, Colombo after tsunami tidal waves struck the coastal belt of Sri Lanka on 26th December 2004.

Austria, Belgium, Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, Italy, India, Japan, Korea, Kenya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia, Turkey, Tanzania, UAE and UK have hitherto airlifted blankets, tents, medicine, bed sheets, mosquito nets, generators, water bottles, plastic items, food packets, clothes, etc to Sri Lanka in view of the magnitude of the catastrophe. Many other nations were quick to make monetary allocations soon after the gravity of the situation was taken into their consideration.

Some of those nations sent in medical staff with doctors and nurses at the request of the government at a short notice as the numbers affected began to rise dramatically. Troops by late Wednesday cleared the road passage up to Matara, enabling public transport to resume its regular services. Similarly, over 25,000 soldiers continue to render their services day and night with post tsunami remedial assignments at respective areas in close cooperation with civil administrators.

As at 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday (05), a total of 555 Social and Welfare Centres with 500,000 displaced tsunami victims in Batticaloa, Jaffna, Vavuniya, Puttlam, Trincomalee, Ampara, Hambantota, Matara, Galle, Kalutara, Gampaha and Colombo districts have now been streamlined in order to receive all emergency services including hot meals, dry rations and medicine. Security to nearly almost all those Centres has been provided by the local Police with the help of Special Task Force, Army and Home Guards.

During the period (28 December – 5 January) a total of 738 vehicles laden with relief goods including those from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have made their entry into un-cleared areas across the Entry/Exit Points at Omanthai and Muhamalai, contrary to false information spread by interested parties. Those items included dry rations, clothes, foods, medicine and cooking utensils.

Meanwhile, the Army Seva Vanitha Unit at Army Headquarters who has been entrusted the task of collecting relief items on behalf of the Army was able to distribute another stock of hundreds of meal packets among internally displaced persons in Galle, Boossa, Kalutara and many other affected households affected on Wednesday (5).

The Disaster Relief Centre run by Defence Services at Galle Face esplanade sent more and more relief items and medical teams to Galle and Tangalle after evaluating urgent needs of those social and welfare centres.